Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Zach Britton, more

by Nicholas Minnix on August 3, 2011 @ 13:25:10 PDT


Your fantasy baseball cheat sheets are no longer of use.'s Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market series gives you tips on fantasy baseball players available as free agents, on waivers or for your FAAB dollars in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. It's time to replace your fantasy baseball busts.


Acquire Add player (in most circumstances)
Consider Add for speculation or because of need
Watch Track player, consider if trend continues
Pass Do not add player (in most circumstances)



Casper Wells, Seattle Mariners

At this year's non-waiver trade deadline, the Mariners acquired a couple of pieces that, in their minds, might be instant upgrades to their lineup. Charlie Furbush is headed straight to the rotation. And Wells, 26, has started three straight games since joining Seattle.

Detroit Tigers OF Casper Wells
All's Wells in Seattle

Given the state of this club's offense, it's easy to see why Wells was instantly a better option than most of its other choices. In that troika of contests, Wells is 4-for-11 with a homer and three RBIs. This year, he's batted .266 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a stolen base in 124 at-bats. Wells' MLB debut stretch last season (.323-4-17 in 93 at-bats) gives him a solid body of work in about half of a season's worth of experience.

The major concern regarding Wells is whether he can hit right-handed pitching consistently. In the minors, he repeatedly posted high averages on balls in play. Although he's made a habit of recording sub-20 percent line-drive rates, Wells hits the ball very hard when he makes contact. And, in his limited major league time, he has actually made contact more often against right-handers than southpaws. Although there are flaws in Wells' game, from an advanced metrics point of view, the slugger is a bit of an overachiever and a quality fielder. This could be a sneaky, solid move for the M's, at least in the short term.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire


Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles

After experiencing a brilliant beginning to 2011, this left-hander fell apart prior to the break. On July 8, he yielded eight runs (seven earned) in just two-thirds of an inning against the Boston Red Sox. Shortly thereafter, the O's sent him down to Double-A Bowie. The demotion wasn't punishment so much as a chance for him to right the ship (and probably have him avoid accruing enough service time to gain Super Two status). In his return to the bigs, this past Saturday, Britton picked up right where he left off: He gave up nine runs (six earned) to the New York Yankees while recording only one out.

What happened? Clearly the kid who boasted a 2.14 ERA after his first nine major league starts can't be this atrocious, can he? Britton's 3.44 BB/9 hasn't done him any favors, but that's not the primary concern. He relies heavily on a sinking fastball and has had trouble locating it. Britton has ended up in some disadvantageous counts, and his other stuff can be quite hittable. The southpaw has simply been laboring through tough innings in an effort to figure things out, and it hasn't come to him. He has to focus on getting ahead more often and improving the secondary stuff.

Fortunately, we've already seen what Britton is capable of, and that two-seamer is nasty. Buck Showalter has displayed a lot confidence in him, which implies that he'll stick with him, barring repeated meltdowns. He's a smart pitcher who hasn't yet experienced this kind of adversity. He'll be better for it in the long run, and he may become a roto commodity again this season. Not a bad player to stash on the pine in the right format.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Watch

AL-only: Acquire

Ross Detwiler, Washington Nationals

The Nats have moved Detwiler into the rotation permanently, at least as far as anyone can see at this point. Even if Stephen Strasburg (recovery from Tommy John surgery) joins the club in September, by then, Jordan Zimmermann will have been shut down, ensuring that Detwiler can stick around, should his performance warrant it. That's because youngsters Brad Peacock and Tom Milone may get a chance at some point, and Tom Gorzelanny will be hanging out in the bullpen in the meantime.

In one start this season, on July 5, Detwiler gave up four hits, two runs and no walks, with one K, in 5 1/3 frames for a victory. He's been solid out of the bullpen, too, recording a 2.35 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 10 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings total this season.

At times throughout his minor league career, and for his 30 big-league games (20 starts), he's had trouble with his control. The 2007 No. 6 overall pick really reined in the walks on the farm last season, though, and this year, he has maintained a little of that growth. Also encouraging is that his velocity has consistently hung in the low 90s. Detwiler has never been a strikeout artist, and overall, he operates with a somewhat small margin for error. The peripherals suggest that his 2011 MLB numbers will see some correction. Although he may put up a solid run, the upside isn't overwhelming.

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

NL-only: Acquire

Tommy Hunter, Baltimore Orioles

The O's have moved Hunter, whom they acquired along with Chris Davis in the Koji Uehara deal, into their rotation. Hunter isn't dominant, but he's been more than serviceable for long stretches of his 54-game career, in which 44 of those appearances have been starts and nine of his 10 relief appearances occurred this year. The Rangers had no room for him in their starting five since was injured in ST and returned only about a month ago.

Per nine innings, as a starter, Hunter figures to strike out about five and walk about 2.5 or a touch more - since that's exactly what he's done in the bigs. He has a lifetime ERA of 4.38 and is prone to serve up the gopher ball (career 1.31 HR/9), so escaping the Texas Rangers' home park for Camden Yards isn't very satisfying. Of note is only that Hunter has, in his short time, outperformed expectations (and statistical predictors) just a bit. Will that continue with B-more? It's not an enticing bet ... but at least he's a starter, right?

Shallow mixed: Pass

Deep mixed: Pass

AL-only: Consider

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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